The minor-league regular season is over, but that doesn’t mean Willson Contreras can’t get in a couple of games there before he returns to big-league action:
Contreras will get two at-bats and catch 3-4 innings tomorrow. Friday he'll DH and get ~3 at-bats. Off day and re-evaluate on Saturday.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 6, 2017
He’s heading to Myrtle Beach, where the Advanced-A Pelicans will be taking on the Down East Wood Ducks (yes, that is a real team, an affiliate of the Rangers) in a playoff series beginning tonight. The game Thursday is in Myrtle Beach, and Friday’s contest will be in Kinston, North Carolina, home of the Wood Ducks.
Based on that schedule, it would appear that the best-case scenario for Willson, presuming all goes well for him in the two games, would be for him to return to action for the Cubs Tuesday, September 12 against the Mets.
When Contreras suffered his hamstring injury August 9 against the Giants in San Francisco, it was stated this would likely put him out for four to six weeks. A return next Tuesday would be smack in the middle of that range, just short of five weeks, so that seems about right.
I wouldn’t expect Contreras to play every day once he returns; there will be days when Alex Avila (who’s hit quite well in Willson’s absence) will start, and other days when Contreras will be taken out after a few innings.
Nevertheless, it will be good to have his bat back in the lineup, and it appears things could happen sooner rather than later.